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New Brunswick election focus turns to employment, emphasis on young people

MONCTON, N.B. - New Brunswick's political parties focused on job creation on the campaign trail Thursday, floating proposals to keep young people working as well as policies to promote employment in the province's various regions and industries.

Liberal Leader Brian Gallant committed to the creation of a provincial youth employment fund if his party wins the Sept. 22 provincial election.

The fund would give unemployed people between 18 and 29 years of age six months of training and work experience that is designed to lead to full-time employment.

"Not only will this fund create jobs and help keep our young people at home, it will allow employers to find and keep the skilled workers they need," Gallant said in a statement. "Over time, this will allow our businesses in New Brunswick to be more efficient, productive and competitive."

Premier David Alward was in Charlottetown on Thursday attending a premiers meeting, where he criticized recent remarks about hydraulic fracturing made by Justin Trudeau while the federal Liberal leader campaigned in New Brunswick several days ago.

Trudeau is 50 years late when he says that more scientific study is needed before the industry can expand, said Alward. The Progressive Conservative leader has promoted shale gas development as a strategy to boost his province's lagging economy.

The NDP, meanwhile, went public with a host of proposals intended to spur the economy and boost employment, including tax credits for job creation and local research and development.

The NDP also proposed increasing the province's investment tax credit to $500,000 and creating a Tourism Marketing Fund, which would be supported through a hotel levy.

Investing in a local food economy was a priority outlined by the Green party.

Leader David Coon said New Brunswick should move towards local food self-reliance, including the creation of a labelling program to allow consumers to easily identify food produced and processed in the province.

"Building a new, local food economy builds New Brunswick's economy," said Coon in a news release. "Setting targets and timelines to achieve greater food self-reliance will open up new markets for our farmers and for our foodie entrepreneurs, and create jobs in this growing sector of our local economies."

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